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Pro Bono Victories

Attorney Patrick Niebauer, an associate at Nolan Sheehan Patten, first met Carl* at a Legal Clinic for the Homeless at Pine Street Inn.

Carl was living at Pine Street and was seeking assistance acquiring disability benefits. He had previously lived in Tennessee, where he served as a live-in caretaker for his brother. When his brother died, Carl lost his only source of income and became homeless. He applied for benefits but was unsuccessful. Carl then decided to leave Tennessee and moved to Boston where, soon after, his wallet was stolen, leaving him with no forms of identification.

Following the Legal Clinic, Carl worked with a case manager at the shelter who helped him acquire a state ID. Meanwhile, Patrick and Carl started the process of reapplying for benefits (both SSI and SSDI), going to the Boston Social Security office in person to meet with a representative to obtain the information needed to ensure a successful application. Patrick also coordinated with the Social Security office in Tennessee and tracked down many of Carl’s medical records to bolster Carl’s application.

Carl’s new application for SSDI was denied after it was determined that he did not have the required work history to receive payments. However, the administration granted his request for SSI and awarded him the maximum amount allowed on a monthly basis.


“As attorneys we have the ability to use our skills and qualifications to help people for whom the legal system may seem unapproachable or hard to navigate, and we should all try to do that to the extent we can.

I didn’t have much experience in this area [of law], and it was really gratifying to achieve such a successful outcome. Being able to collect disability benefits has totally changed Carl’s day-to-day life.” – Patrick Niebauer, Associate, Nolan Sheehan Patten LLP


These disability payments are the only income Carl has had in two years and they have enabled him to finally envision and plan for a more secure future. He recently told Patrick he was on a few waiting lists for housing and that he had picked up playing the guitar—one of his lifelong passions—after many years.

*Client’s name has been changed to protect privacy.

Link to article here

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